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Vice President Meets with Seniors, Touts Benefits of Health Reform

Retiree leaders and activists are praising Vice President Joseph Biden, who earlier today visited the Leisure World retirement community in Silver Spring, Maryland to discuss health insurance reform.

"Vice President Biden today made a clear and convincing case for why Americans of all ages would benefit from health care reform," said Edward F. Coyle, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  "I hope this helps alleviate the concerns of retirees, who have been the victim of an insurance industry-backed campaign of lies and scare tactics.  We must help seniors separate fact from fiction, so they see how health reform will help them more easily see a doctor, get a prescription filled, and obtain essential preventive screenings for cancer and other diseases."

A special guest at today’s event was Alliance member Phil Feaster,, a retired truck driver from Fort Washington, MD who spends $700 per month for his eight daily medicines.  Feaster is one of 3.4 million retirees who fall into the Medicare "doughnut hole," in which they must pay both their monthly Medicare premiums and full price for their prescriptions.

"It was a great honor to join the Vice President," Feaster said, "But this is not just about me, it is about the millions of retirees who need help.  Times are tough for seniors, but this year we have a chance to make things better."

Across the nation, grassroots activists with the Alliance for Retired Americans are mobilizing to pass a health reform bill that: closes the ‘doughnut hole’ coverage gap in Medicare Part D; lowers prescription drug costs through common-sense price negotiation; eliminates the co-pay for preventive screenings; and helps make long-term care more affordable.  The Alliance supports a high-quality public option as, "a refreshing alternative to the big insurance companies who profit by denying care and discriminating against pre-existing conditions," Coyle said.

"The stakes could not be higher for retirees.  If we fail to act this year, Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs would soon eat up more than one-third of a retiree’s Social Security benefits.  A typical older couple would need to save $300,000 for medical bills not covered by Medicare," Coyle said.  

Originally posted to New Path to Middle Class on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 01:40 PM PDT.

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